President Rodrigo Duterte said he will continue to stand by Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III “even if it will bring me down.”
This, as Duque is facing scrutiny over findings of the Commission on Audit (CoA) that there were irregularities and deficiencies over funds amounting to P67.3-billion intended for initiatives to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I can go down but with my values and principles intact. Prinsipyo yan eh (This is about principles). Wala si Duque (Duque is none), he’s not even a campaigner. He was not even there during the elections,” Duterte said in a pre-recorded public address aired on Saturday morning.
“Maski mag-isa na lang ako (Even if I am alone), I will stand for Duque even if it will bring me down,” he added.
Duterte said he would only fire a government worker who is either involved in corruption or not performing his duty.
Hence, there is no basis to dismiss Duque since the latter is doing his mandate amid the prevailing pandemic, Duterte added.
Duterte lamented that Duque is being “flogged” even if the latter “did not hold even a peso.”
“I am not defending the DOH. Trabaho nila iyan (That’s their job) and we are governed by the rules. Hindi ako (Not me), I’m not defending because they are not being accused of anything. I am just sharing my opinion,” he said.
Duterte said it would be a “great injustice,” should he decide to dismiss Duque from service.
He said he could not afford to let people think that Duque is involved in corrupt activities.